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While I watch few TV programmes in general (hello GBBO and The Apprentice!), there’s something about Saturday nights that always sees me switch on. True, after a long week at work, many of us like nothing more than to slump on the sofa, slippers on feet and hot chocolate in hand. We might rant our way through the ridiculousness of X Factor, with its well-worn catchphrases and ritual humiliation of its contestants, but we continue to tune in regardless. But why?
People love a good story; and while few of us would admit it; those tales of woe the producers predictably wheel out year after year go a long way to helping us connect with the finalists, and the programme itself. On some level, at least, we feel we know the contestants; we root for our favourites and keep our fingers firmly crossed that those we dislike will soon be booted out.
When you think about it, the success of some of TV’s most popular shows – Big Brother, Gogglebox, Strictly Come Dancing – probably lies in part to the fact that we, as viewers, are able to discover a little more about its stars. The posh couple from Gogglebox has warmed the hearts of viewers, and otherwise-hated public figures have managed, via reality shows, to change the public’s perception by way of a ‘Look at me, haven’t I had it hard?’ routine.
The next time you write a piece of content, then, try to add a spot of ‘storytelling’ to it. You may well be writing content about an injection moulding (no, I’m none the wiser either!) company, or putting together a blog post for a skincare brand; whatever the content brief, though, it’s unlikely you’ll find it challenging to inject some personality into it.
Writing an ‘About Us’ page for a company which sells power tools? Speak to everyone at the brand, from the director to the tea lady, asking for anecdotes about their time working there. You’ll soon find you’ll have more than enough tales to weave into your copy in an engaging enough way. It’s all about adding a human angle to a piece; and while it may seem difficult from the get-go, you’ll be surprised what morsels of information you can discover by doing a bit of digging.
Quotes work excellently, too; whether you’re putting together a journalistic feature, or an advertising-led piece of copy. If you’re struggling with an intro, for example, why not start with a quote? And if you can’t get hold of a good one from the company in question, have a look online. Just recently, I used a quote from Walt Disney in a piece for a children’s wear brand; it really helped tie up an otherwise-serious feature.
If all else fails, you can’t go wrong with a spot of humour. While some copywriters will tell you there’s a time and place to have a joke, I reckon wit can be weaved into almost any piece of copy to make it more appealing to customers. Ultimately, that’s whose attention you’re trying to grab, isn’t it? Just like X Factor does each and every week. And don’t say you didn’t partake in a fist pump when your ‘favourite’ made it through to the live shows last week; that’s exactly what they wanted you to do.
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